When people say they want to break a world record, we’re guessing this isn’t what they’re thinking about: Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that in 2014 there were 1.5 million cases of chlamydia reported—the highest number of cases reported for any illness, ever. (More Than 1 In 100 Women Have Chlamydia, FYI.) This bad news came courtesy of the CDC’s annual report on STDs, which added that gonorrhea and syphilis also saw large increases over the past year. Stock up on condoms, ladies, because we are in the midst of an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections.
Chlamydia is a particularly nasty infection for women because it’s easily spread through any type of sexual contact; and since men don’t often exhibit symptoms, you can’t see if your partner is infected. In women, symptoms include a burning sensation when you pee, abnormal vaginal discharge, abdominal or pelvic pain, blood in your urine, and a feeling of always having to pee—leading many women to mistake them for a urinary tract infection. (In fact, even Hospitals Misdaignose STDs for UTIs 50 Percent of the Time!)
Left untreated, chlamydia can cause irreparable damage to your fertility, making it difficult or impossible to get pregnant in the future. And the women most likely to contract are between the ages of 15 and 25, according to the CDC—those right before or during their prime childbearing years.
Thankfully, it’s easily spotted through routine screenings (so make sure you’re getting regular gynecological check-ups!) and can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Prevention, however, is still your best option—recent studies have shown a rapid increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of both chlamydia and gonorrhea. So always make sure your man suits up (even for oral or anal) because this is one world record you don’t want to join. (If you already have, find out How to Talk to Him About Your STI Status.)